The Saipan Stevedore Company Yankees kept their championship hopes alive after holding off the Tan Holdings Brewers, 4-3, in Game 4 of their title series in the Saipan Major League Baseball Association last Thursday night at the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Ballfield.
With the series tied at 2-2, the Yankees and Brewers will go for all the marbles in the deciding Game 5 on Monday 6:30pm. The Yankees won Game 1 of the series, but the pennant champions Brewers swept the next two games to move one win away from clinching the championship.
With their season on the line going into last Thursday's match, the Yankees were put in a must-win situation and showed early signs of extending the series when they led at 3-0. The Brewers managed to tie the game going into the final inning, but Ben Jones Jr. and Frank Robert teamed up in the winning run in the ninth to force the winner-take-all Game 5.
After a scoreless first inning, Chris Camacho broke the ice in the second and the Yankees went ahead, 3-0, after three innings off three hits. Pat Guerrero led off with a double and Jerome Delos Santos brought him in with a two-bagger, while Greg Camacho cleaned up with an RBI single.
Yankees' pitcher Mel Sakisat dealt six scoreless innings before the Brewers finally put together enough contact to pull within a run in the top of the seventh inning.
Brewers' Manny Sablan led off with a single and stole second base before coming around off an infield error that boarded Ton Manibusan. Manibusan also made it home off another error, however Sakisat got the Yankees out of the jam with runners on the corners.
Then after a quiet eighth, Brewers' Clifton Silil singled home Guerrero at the top of the ninth to tie the game, 3-all. Silil lifted a shallow fly to left field that was almost snagged by Yankees' centerfielder Jones Jr., who came diving in on the play.
Jones Jr. then came to the plate and led off the bottom of the ninth inning with a clutch single and moved into scoring position off an ill-timed error. Frank Robert stepped in and out later and drilled a walk-off line drive to keep the Yankees championship dreams alive.
Winning pitcher Sakisat went all nine innings and gave up zero earned runs off 11 hits and a walk, while Delos Santos batted 3-for-4 with one RBI and one run for the Yankees. Sablan led the Brewers, as he swung 3-for-4 with one RBI. Mike Pangelinan was 3-for-3 with a base on balls and Guerrero batted 3-for-4 with a run.